Two former University of Alabama football greats were on the ballot for the 2020 College Football Hall of Fame announced by the National Football Foundation on Monday.
E.J. Junior III, an All-American defensive end on two of Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s national championship teams (1978, 1979) and 1999 Jacobs Award winner and All-American offensive tackle Chris Samuels of Mobile were both listed on this year’s ballot. Samuels is a first-time nominee while Junior was also on the ballot for the 2019 class.
Both also had standout NFL careers, Junior most notably with the St. Louis Cardinals and Samuels as a Washington Redskin.
Former Alabama players in the Hall of Fame are Cornelius Bennett (1983-86), Johnny Mack Brown (1923-25), Johnny Cain (1930-32), Harry Gilmer (1944-47), John Hannah (1970-72), Dixie Howell (1932-34), Pooley Hubert (1922-25), Don Hutson (1932-34), Lee Roy Jordan (1960-62), Woodrow Lowe (1972-75), Marty Lyons (1977-78), Vaughn Mancha (1944-47), Johnny Musso (1969-71), Billy Neighbors (1959-61), Ozzie Newsome (1974-77), Fred Sington (1928-30), Riley Smith (1933-35), Derrick Thomas (1985-88), and Don Whitmire (1941-44). Bryant is a member of the Hall of Fame as a coach, although he also played at UA.
Also on this year’s ballot as a coaching nominee is Gordo native Larry Blakeney, the all-time winningest coach in Sun Belt Conference history during his tenure as head coach at Troy. Blakeney led the Trojans to eight conference titles (five in the Sun Belt, three in the Southland) and seven FCS playoff appearances in his career.
The criteria for Hall of Fame consideration include:
First and foremost, a player must have received First-Team All-America recognition by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise their consensus All-America teams.
A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation’s Honors Courts 10 full seasons after his final year of intercollegiate football played. While each nominee’s football achievements in college are of prime consideration, his post-football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and his fellow man, with love of his country.
A full list of this year’s nominees appears here: